Thursday , August 13, 2015

Opening Round 74 For Perez At Whistling Straits

Pat Perez picked up three birdies on Thursday at Whistling Straits, but five bogeys—including back-to-back to finish the round—were the difference for the Tour veteran in the opening round of the 97th PGA Championship.

On a course littered with countless bunkers, Perez only found his way into the sand five times and the rough four. Perez averaged 283 yards driving distance on the day (where the current leader averaged 309 and the guy behind him, 280.

Perez was also 71.43-percent in driving accuracy, hit 50-percent greens-in-regulation, was 55.56-percent in scrambling and -0.33 in strokes gained putting; one of the round’s true culprits.

Paired with David Hearn and Brian Gaffney, Perez teed off No. 10 and opened with back-to-back pars before a bogey on the par-three twelfth; rolling a six-foot par putt long and wide. 

Two consecutive pars followed before a birdie-birdie run that had Perez one-under after seven.

Perez hit his tee shot 292 yards to the right fairway on the par-four fifteenth and his second shot 187 yards to the green, setting up the 13-footer for three. From there, a 290-yard tee shot on the par-five sixteenth, a 261-yard second shot to the right front green side bunker and an 81-yard third shot to the green, setting up the 10-footer he rolled in.

Prosperity was short-lived after a bogey on the par-three seventeenth, where a 201-yard tee shot to the front center green side bunker was followed by a 17-foot shot to the right rough; leaving a 40-footer for par.

To Perez’s credit, disaster was avoided when he rolled in the 10-footer for bogey, avoiding a dreaded five. 

Perez parred No. 18 and even at the turn, parred the first two holes on the front nine before a bogey on the par-three third—a 24-foot birdie putt running long, setting up a six-foot comeback that rolled long and wide. Perez went on to tap-in from half a foot for four.

A birdie on the par-five fifth got Perez back to even; a 287-yard tee shot, 231-yard second shot to the left fairway and 70-yard third show to the green, setting up the three-plus footer for four. 

Pars followed on No. 6 and No. 7 but back-to-back bogeys on No. 8 and No. 9 ended the  respectable round on a sour note; Perez unable to roll in par putts of 8’4″ and 11’4″ to keep him at even.

With optimal conditions early Thursday morning, followed by mid-to-late afternoon wind, Perez got the better opening round draw; as witnessed by his jumping over twenty spots as the day rolled on. Sitting at T110 soon after his round came to a close, Perez moved up to T80 as of 5:30 p.m. CT. Even par is currently T39.

Perez will be back in action on Friday at 12:00 p.m. CT, going off of No. 1—nicknamed “Outward Bound”.  


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